I feel a bit like Goldilocks in the story of "The Three Bears" (and it's not often you hear someone say that)...
I feel a bit like Goldilocks in the story of The Three Bears. You remember when she tastes the porridge and the first bowl is too hot, the second bowl is too cold, while the third bowl is “just right.” Similarly, when she tries the beds, the first bed is too hard, the second bed is too soft (she’s going to grow up to make someone a wonderful wife [grin]), while the third bed is “just right.”
Well, I’m currently looking for a “Messenger Bag” that’s “Just Right!”
Now, I want to make it very clear that I still love the Swiss Gear IBEX Computer Backpack that I purchased when I accidently dropped my previous notebook computer (Click Here to read that blog and to see pictures of the backpack).
I keep my notebook and my iPad in my Swiss Gear backpack, along with books, noise-cancelling headphones, Skype headset, memory sticks, and power cables (check out my I feel like a fool blog for thoughts on managing power cables), to name but a few. And I take my backpack with me everywhere – including into the office each morning and back home again each night.
I also use it as my carry-on bag when travelling by air … and therein lies the problem. I don’t know about you, but I hate it when I’m trying to board a plane and some drongo is rooting through their bag trying to find a book or their glasses or a notepad or something… and we’re all backing up in the aisle… and the second hand on the clock is going round and round and round and round and …. I’m sorry, what were we talking about?
Oh yes… the fact that I hate it when someone is holding everyone up… especially if that someone is me. I just got back from a trip to England. I bounced over there to be with my mother when she had a hip replacement operation. (Unfortunately, there was a big snowstorm the night before the operation and the hospital was overwhelmed with emergencies and my mom’s operation was postponed until the New Year and so I returned home early … but that’s another story.)
Anyway, it struck me that what I could do with is a small “Messenger Bag” type thing. Ideally this would be something that would fold flat so I could carry in in my main backpack. The idea is that a little while before boarding, I could transfer anything I’m planning to use on the flight (book, iPad, headphones, snacks…) from my main backpack into my Messenger Bag. Then, when I get on the plane, I could slip my backpack into an overhead compartment and immediately plonk my bum down on my seat in the happy knowledge that everything I need to speed me through the journey is close at hand in my Messenger Bag.
But which is the best Messenger Bag for me? I don’t want something that’s too big, or too small, or too “this”, or too “that’…
Ideally, if I was given a choice, I would prefer something made out of old, battered, distressed, yet tough brown leather – a bag so oozing with character that it looks like it might have accompanied Indiana Jones on one of his adventures. Sad to relate, however, thus far I haven’t seen anything that attracts my eye (or my sadly depleted wallet).
I do like the Iguape Messenger Bag from The Real Deal Brazil (Click Here for more details). These little beauties are made in Brazil out of recycled canvas tarpaulins from cargo trucks used for transporting goods. I must admit that I would have been tempted… but the $99.99 price tag managed to “de-tempt” me fairly quickly.
I also like the Canvas Utility Bag from Think Geek. These tough canvas satchels come in three flavors differentiated by their straps, which are emblazoned with one of the following legends: "POLICE LINE – DO NOT CROSS", "DANGER", or "HIGH VOLTAGE". Funnily enough, I saw one of these when I was flying back from England and they really do look rather tasty. They are also not too expensive at $29.99.
But then I started to say to myself: “Hang on, you are only going to use this bag a couple of times a year when you fly somewhere, so do you really need a Messenger Bag? Couldn’t you just use a carrier bag?”
Obviously these are good points, but I quickly rallied by saying: “Ah Ha! But I could also use it on car journeys and a Messenger Bag looks so much cooler than a plastic carrier bag.”
And then I got into real argument with myself, because money is a bit tight at the moment and I had just promised myself that I wouldn’t make any frivolous purchases, and if you can’t keep your word to yourself then you really have got problems, but "cool is cool" when all is said and done.
Fortunately, I remembered that there is a Military Surplus store called This and That here in Huntsville, so I toddled down there today at lunchtime and found a very nice bag for only around $10.
This little rascal – which I think is classed as a "Map Bag" or something – is made out of canvas with a shoulder strap and pop-studs to hold the front cover. It’s divided into two compartments inside with a small pocket located under the flap on the front. It’s just the right size to hold a couple of magazines and a book and my iPad and my noise-cancelling headphones (which aren’t small) and a snack or too, but it will also fold really flat so that I can slip it into my main backpack when I’m not using it.
So... on the one hand I’m really happy with my purchase … but … I can’t stop the niggling voice in the back of my mind that is wondering if there is a Messenger Bag out there that is so perfectly tuned to my requirements that it would make me squeal with delight… Do you have any thoughts or suggestions?
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